Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Have you bought a Ford lately?

Toyota was outsold by Ford in the U.S. for the third-straight month and put the company behind Ford on a year-to-date basis.

Ford Motor Co. beat expectations with an 11% year-on-year decline while General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC all lagged, with executives noting a softening in domestic sales at the end of the month. Executives at Ford noted the emergence of regional variations in U.S. sales, with central regions outperforming both coasts.

The sharp declines at GM and Chrysler, 33% and 42% respectively, were caused in part by tumbling fleet sales, as the companies tightened their inventories and dealers reduced their stock of vehicles. Fleet sales fell 95% and 49%, respectively.

Ford, which unlike its Detroit rivals has dodged bankruptcy, continued its recent trend of increased market share -- up three percentage points in June. Ford's results highlight the incremental signs of improvement the industry has been seeing recently.

There were hopes that annualized U.S. sales could hit 10 million in June for the first time this year, but several auto makers said Wednesday the industry fell short of that mark.

Ford said a third of its 22 areas reported higher year-on-year retail volume and almost another third "close to" year-ago levels.

The company's June U.S. light-vehicle sales were 154,873, down from 173,462 a year earlier. Ford, Lincoln and Mercury car sales fell 11% while sport-utility vehicles dropped 20% in June. Trucks and vans declined just 6.9%.

June had 25 selling days, one more than a year ago.

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